The 9th Middle East Retail Forum to focus on digital transformation of the US$25 trillion worldwide retail sector

The 9th Middle East Retail Forum will attract more than 200 delegates from the retail industry with 35 speakers sharing their insights on the challenging global economic environment, while the RetailME Awards will honour brands and personalities across 21 categories



News Highlights:

  • Global eCommerce sales to grow from US$4.13 trillion in 2020 to US$4.8 trillion in 2021, according to a Visa white paper; 
  • The total eCommerce market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region including all categories, has been estimated to be worth $48.6 billion in 2022, up from $26.9 billion in 2018, according to Visa. 
  • The UAE retail industry – classified into store and non-store sales, which include eCommerce – is estimated to grow from $55 billion in 2018 to $63.8 billion by 2023. 
  • The UAE’s eCommerce sales were projected at $16 billion in 2019, followed by KSA, where eCommerce sales were projected at $7.7 billion.

The 9th edition of the Middle East Retail Forum which will take place at the Conrad Dubai Hotel on November 25, 2020, will focus on the digital transformation of the region’s retail sector as eCommerce sales set to jump to US$48.6 billion in 2022, up from US$26.9 billion in 2018, according to recent research.

Global retail sales were projected to reach US$25.04 trillion in 2021 and US$26.7 trillion in 2022, up from US$23.6 trillion in 2018, according to Statista, an online tracker of global economy and retail sector. In 2019, e-retail sales accounted for 14.1 percent of all retail sales worldwide. This figure is expected to reach 22 percent in 2023. 

Running concurrently at the same venue, the 10th RetailME Awards, will honour the region's best performing retailers across 21 categories. This will be one of the first such physical events taking place in the UAE after the COVID-19 pandemic stopped events since March this year.

Aptly titled The Masterplan of Retail Transformation, the Middle East Retail Forum will host more than 200 delegates – restricted to 40 percent of the ballroom capacity – to ensure social distancing. This will be the first such event to take place maintaining social distance protocol and all health and safety regulations stipulated by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) – and reflect the organiser’s strong determination to defy the odds. This also reflects the resilience of the region’s retail sector that has been dominating the economic landscape of the Middle East.

In the GCC, mass internet adoption has resulted from a combination of digital infrastructure and eager consumer adoption of technology-driven solutions, such as social media and smartphones. The wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has taken its own route to digital adoption, leap-frogging traditional channels of evolution, according to a research by Visa International.

“Today, Middle East nations are ahead of more mature eCommerce markets such as the United States and China in terms of internet penetration, which stood at 64.5 percent, above the global average of 54.5 percent,” it said.

“Delayed adoption, followed by high digital and social penetration, has meant that GCC consumers have jumped straight to mobile commerce, or mCommerce, and operate across digital platforms with ease. The total market size, including all categories, has been estimated to be worth $48.6 billion in 2022, up from $26.9 billion in 2018.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the retail sector and transformed consumers as it is rapidly changing the US$25 trillion global retail landscape, so much so that the global eCommerce sales are set to grow from US$4.13 trillion in 2020 to US$4.8 trillion in 2021.

Justina Eitzinger, Chief Operating Officer of Images Group Middle East, organiser of the Middle East Retail Forum and RetailME Awards, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has defined and accelerated transformation of the retail landscape, bringing with it, several new opportunities!"

“Organising the 9th Middle East Retail Forum and the 10th RetailME Awards under this extremely challenging environment reflects our resolve, conviction and commitment to our industry that is so resilient. The pandemic has reminded us that only change is constant, and we must be agile, responsive and future fit to perform and thrive in the constantly changing environment.” 

"We are very excited to organise both the conference and the RetailME Awards 2020 on the same day. As the adage goes, 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going'. We will recognise the incredible retailers that have championed transformation, innovation and customer experience."   

“As the retail sector faces challenges and embraces change we expect a number of developments taking place in the retail industry in the next years. The region’s retailers will benefit from the insights and best practices that will be shared through the keynote addresses, presentations and panel discussions.  We urge both retailers and the enablers and solution providers to the retail industry to join this knowledge sharing initiative.”

The 9th Middle East Retail Forum, the region’s most prestigious and the only such event for the retail sector, will host a number of keynote speakers, presentations and five panel discussions in which 35+ speakers will share their insights on the changing retail landscape. 

Speakers at the 9th Middle East Retail Forum, includes experts and officials from Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group, Lulu Group International, Chalhoub Group, Baraka Retail Group, Jacky’s Business Solutions and Jacky’s Retail LLC, Sacoor Brothers Group, Kibsons, Coveti, Zebra Technologies, Krush Brands, Magrudy’s, Liwa Trading Enterprises, PJP Investments Group, Dubai One, Fawaz Alhokair Fashion Retail,, Gates Hospitality, ElGrocer, Hopi, Exhale and Glamazle. 

RetailME Awards is also the only such international awards programme for the retailers. In its tenth year, it is the most sought after awards programme in the Middle East.

About IMAGES RetailME

IMAGES RetailME is a 16-year-old retail intelligence media brand in the Middle East. With a 45,000+ strong print readership and over 100,000 digital reach across the MENA region, it offers unparalleled insights into local and international trade.

RetailME is the No. 1 Retail Intelligence Platform, bringing together traditional and digital retailers of all sizes and contributing on trends, thought leaderships, experiences and transformation.

IMAGES RetailME provides unique, in-depth editorial coverage on all aspects of retail – including retail formats, merchandising, design, shop fit, category management, logistics, technology, shopping centres, consumer trends, franchising, and human resource. Plus, the readers are kept up to date with important directions and trends in this ever-growing industry. 

For more information, please contact:
Lawrence Pinto  

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